Of all the characters in the Valiant universe, I am least familiar with Shadowman, so End Times has been a great introduction to the character for me and should be a good jumping point for new readers as well. While the miniseries started off a little slow, this final issue wraps the story up nicely, while providing some teasers as to the future of Shadowman. There will be spoilers here, folks.
Peter Milligan has done an amazing job at revamping this character after a slow start in the regular series and this issue is a culmination of everything that he has been setting up since End Times started. At first read, I was a little upset with just how childish Jack acts in this issue, but upon rereading the previous two issues I realized that he’s not just a man with father issues, but rather a man with a deep inner struggle to control his very soul.
We start the story with Jack in the Voodoo Lands in front of a nearly dead and bound Master Darque. If you’ve been reading the series you’ll remember that Jack believes Master Darque is the only person who can tell him where his father, Josiah, is since he was the last person to see Josiah alive. Darque agrees to help Jack find Josiah providing him with a magical compass to help Jack find the way. When Jack asks what Darque wants in return he responds with the following:
How perfectly creepy!
Jack does eventually come face to face with his father who tries to explain to Jack why he faked his death, but Jack wants to hear nothing of it. Jack is, after all, consumed by the loa and cannot think straight. After a brief battle, Jack murders his father and is tended to by Master Darque.
I will admit that I was a bit unsure about End Times after reading the first issue, but things really picked up in issue two, and came to a gripping conclusion with this final chapter. Milligan has steered the story perfectly not just by keeping Jack in the dark about what is really happening, but by using him as an unreliable narrator and trying to lure the reader away from the action as well. The story line could have been part of the main Shadowman series, or even an expanded four or five issue miniseries to flesh out some of the ideas more thoroughly, but overall it was a really fun read.
While some have complained about Valentine De Lando’s art, I find that it suits the story and characters quite well. The art style is simpler and less refined than we see in other Valiant books, but fits the horror elements of this book very well, and the coloring by David Baron and Allen Passalaqua really bring the book to life with muted tons and shades of blue. I love what this art team has done in this book and would love to see them work on more Shadowman books in the future.
If you’ve never read Shadowman before End Times should be a good place to start without being bogged down too much by the mythology of the series. Milligan has done a fantastic job with all the characters and this issue really pays off in a very big way and I look forward to seeing what happens to Jack in the future after the events of this issue.